There’s not much better than a nice cold beer with the smoky BBQ that you’ve been cooking outside. Especially during these hotter summer days. You may have heard that certain wines pair well with certain types of food. But, you may not know that the same kind of thing applies to beer pairings with BBQ.
Certain beers pair better with BBQ compared to others. With the variety of micro-brewed beers available these days there’s a lot to choose from. It all comes down to balancing flavors to complement each other.
So, you may be wondering what beers pair well with BBQ? If you are going to take the time to learn how to BBQ right, why not learn what beer pairings can help elevate the flavors and make your tastebuds dance.
There is a variety of beers that pair very nicely with many of the common flavors found in BBQ. The important thing to remember is that you want to pick a beer that balances the flavors found in your BBQ. A beer with the exact same comparable flavors will just get lost. For example, you don’t want to pair a sweeter beer with a sweet BBQ sauce.
Also, when it comes to the heaviness of the beer, you want to match it with the heaviness of the food. Light meats or seafood pair with lighter beers, while heavier meats pair better with heavier beers.
In this article, we’ll break down some of the best beers that you can pair with different types of BBQ. Then you can be sure to have something for everyone, no matter if you are barbecuing for a Monday night family dinner or getting ready to unleash your barbecue skills on the 4th of July weekend.
When you are cooking lighter meats, like chicken, as well as any seafood, beers on the lighter end of the spectrum are going to be your best bet. You can still end up with a flavorful beer without overpowering the meat.
Great beer pairings for chicken and seafood include:
Source: The Food Network
Whether you are cooking chops, shoulder, or ribs, pork is going to be considered medium-heaviness meat. So, with more fat and a bolder flavor, you can slightly increase the heaviness with the beer pairing.
Some beers that go great with pork include:
Keep in mind, if you are using a heavier sauce on your pork, especially a sweeter based one, don’t go for a beer that is on the sweeter side. Pair a brighter, hoppier beer with a sweet barbecue sauce to balance the flavor. If you are using more of a vinegar-based or tangy sauce, a Porter with a hint of sweetness is going to complement nicely.
Steak cuts are going to fall between pork and brisket, lamb, etc when it comes to heaviness. Especially for thicker, fattier steaks. So think of the heaviness of the beer the same. You could go towards the darker, more robust end of the spectrum for your beer pairing.
Some good beer pairings for steak include:
When you get into brisket, beef ribs, lamb, or other gamey meats, you can pair the heavy, bold flavors of the meat with bolder beers. In general, beers that are hoppier or have more malt will hold up to the meat and complement it well.
Beers that pair well with these bolder meats include:
You could even go with one of the heavy dark beers that have even sweeter notes of dark fruit or chocolate, to balance and enhance the rich, savory flavors of the “big” meats. Especially if you’re cooking more of a Texas-style brisket with bolder, spicier flavors.
If you’re cooking for a crowd, you may be cooking several different types of meat. Or you, or someone else who will be enjoying your delicious BBQ, may not like hoppier or dark beers. In either of these cases, don’t fear. Several types of beer could be considered universal favorites. This is because their flavor profiles don’t lean towards too hoppy on one end of the spectrum or too sweet on the other end.
Source: Kegerator Learning Center
Cooking BBQ often gives you a chance to experiment and play around with different flavors. Whether the flavor is in the type of wood you are using as fuel, flavors in your rubs or sauces, or the type of meat you are cooking.
Why not step out of your normal comfort zone when it comes to beer pairings also. Different pairings will enhance different flavors found in the meat. Drinking an American Pale Ale with your steak will make it taste completely different than drinking it with a Porter, but both will be delicious.
Experiment with pairing different flavors of beers with your delicious BBQ. As you can see, you’ve got a lot of great options to choose from.
Now you know how to elevate your beer pairing game, get more insider information and tips from the award-winning pitmasters and grillmasters here at BBQ Champs Academy to take your BBQ to the next level. In our BBQ classes, you’ll learn step-by-step outdoor cooking techniques alongside insider secrets, all in stunning high-def video. Check out our All-Access pass to get the full inside look!
It’s that time of the year again. Football is back, Nascar and NHRA drag racing is coming into the final stretch of their seasons, and you can smell the BBQ’s going through parking lots across America. It’s time to take your backyard BBQ cooking to the tailgate and master your BBQ game and race day tailgate party.
But a great bbq tailgate get-together is more than just the different kinds of BBQ meat you may be grilling or smoking. If you can also nail the sides to compliment your BBQ, you are sure to create the best tailgate BBQ meal of the season.
Top BBQ pitmasters know that using side dishes to play off of and compliment the flavors of the meat can actually do wonders to even further enhance the meat’s flavor profiles. Let’s take a look at some top outdoor eating sides for your BBQ tailgate party:
Source: Midwest Living Magazine
One hearty and warm side that pairs very well with BBQ is baked beans. But to leave a lasting impression you should skip canned baked beans. Go for a delicious elevated version like this Calico Bean Bake from Midwest Living.
Looking for something to feed a large group? This easy to make recipe, part baked beans, part chili, is ready in 45 to 50 minutes and feeds 12 people.
Pineapple isn’t just for dessert anymore. This popular sweet and juicy fruit can take on completely different flavor profiles when grilled. This is another easy-to-make side that can be cooked on the grill at the same time your BBQ meat is cooking.
Prepare it the night before so it can marinate and it’s ready in 2 to 3 minutes of cooking. This tailgate side makes for a perfect appetizer while waiting on the rest of the meal. With a mixture of sweetness and hot sauce to give it an interesting kick, this grilled pineapple recipe from Allrecipes.com will have everyone’s taste buds dancing.
Source: Food Network
It’s always a good bet to balance off tailgate BBQ with a cold appetizer. Another fan favorite often is guacamole. Elevate the normal everyday guacamole with this great recipe from Bobby Flay for Food Network.
By mixing in some chargrilled corn, the guacamole gets an added sweet and smoky flavor. With just a few ingredients, this recipe can be made very quickly and easily.
Source: Country Living
You might hear many people say that you can’t have a great tailgate party, or any BBQ for that matter, without some great slaw. This staple side can come in a variety of different flavor profiles, with different types of cabbage, or additions.
This particular recipe from Country Living will help you create a tangy slaw with a mix of two different crunchy greens. Another easy-to-make side, it pairs great with BBQ and is a sure crowd-pleaser. It can be enjoyed on its own as a side or on top of grilled brats or other meats.
Source: Midwest Living
Dips are always a great option for a side at a tailgate party. They are easy to prepare and can often be done the night before or alongside your meat on the grill. And usually, everyone loves cheese! This creamy fondue dip from Country Living is another side that pairs well with sweet or smoky BBQ flavors and is sure to go fast.
With a serving size of 16, you can keep everyone fed and enjoying a blend of savory and smoky flavors in this fondue with just a little kick of spice. Just make sure to have enough bread cubes or tortilla chips to go around.
Remember, a great tailgate BBQ party isn’t just about the meat. Great complimentary sides like the ones above can help leave an even greater lasting impression for your friends and family. Try some of these easy to make sides to kick your BBG cooking up a notch.
Here at BBQ Champs Academy, through our first of its kind online BBQ cooking school, we, along with our World Champion pitmasters and grillmasters, aim to teach you everything you need to know to enhance your backyard BBQ techniques. Learn from the pros and make competition quality BBQ and sides.
Have you mastered any of these sides of above already? Do you know of more great sides that you love with your tailgate BBQ? Leave a comment below, we want to hear from you!